Things to do in Wisconsin for Christmas

8 Unusual Things to do for Christmas in Wisconsin

There are weird adventures to be found around every corner and the holidays are no exception, so we decided to round up our favorite unusual things to do in Wisconsin for Christmas for those of us who want more than the typical Christmas parades and mall Santas. Christmas in Wisconsin can be a magical, if not mystifying time of year, with epic light displays like Candy Cane Lane where you might see the Grinch taunting you from the street corner, and some rather strange places to see Santa.

We’ve collected here what we think are the most unique and Wisconsin-y things to do for some unforgettable yuletide memories.

1. Visit the Kooky Cooky House

Kooky Cookie House

Capital Court Mall in Milwaukee was the Christmas destination in the 1960s and 70s, and the magical Kooky Cooky House gingerbread-making machine was the centerpiece where kids could see Boss Robot and get cookies and coloring books from Santa. The mall is long gone, but you can still see the Kooky Cooky House in action today for maximum holiday nostalgia. It appears somewhere new every year.

2. Take a drive to Christmas Card Town

Wisconsin's Christmas card town

Elkhorn, WI became known as Christmas Card Town after it appeared in a 1950s TV show and inspired artist Cecile Johnson to paint it for a series of Christmas cards. Elkhorn celebrates this heritage by commissioning a new Christmas card every year depicting a snowy, idyllic scene from around town. Visit Elkhorn to see Santa arrive by horse-drawn carriage to light the tree in the town square, catch the annual Christmas Card Town Parade, and grab a pack of this year’s cards from one of the unique shops nearby.

3. Take a Haunted Holiday Tour at The Rave


The Rave Haunted Holidays Tours

The Rave/Eagles Club is one of Milwaukee’s most interesting concert venues, and it’s also one of the most haunted. But some of the spookiest areas of the building, like the legendary pool, are usually only accessible by artists and staff. So The Rave Haunted Holiday Tours are a great opportunity to wander around and explore the backstage areas and other typically off-limits rooms…including the pool.

4. See 6,000+ Santas at House on the Rock

House on the Rock Christmas

From its ferocious 200-foot whale to the world’s largest indoor carousel, it’s clear the House on the Rock does nothing in moderation…and that includes Christmas. Tour the House and see more than 6,000 Santas on display when the already bizarre attraction is transformed for the holidays.

5. Take the Lake Geneva Santa Cruise

Lake Geneva Santa Cruise

Lake Geneva boat tours are among the most popular things to do in the area, but you can hop on the Santa Cruise for a special holiday tour of the lakeside mansions all lit up for the holidays, and a special stop at Santa’s workshop.

6. Get Naughty with Krampus at the Milwaukee Krampusnacht

Milwaukee Krampusnacht

Krampus is the wicked counterpart of St. Nick who takes away the naughty kids to be punished in ancient pagan tradition. Celebrate the dark side of Christmas at the annual Milwaukee Krampusnacht with a traditional Krampus parade, live music, creepy Christmas market, and fun activities for the good kids and the naughty ones.

7. Christmas Lights in Cave of the Mounds

Christmas lights in Cave of the Mounds

Cave of the Mounds has been amazing us with its ornate mineral formations since its accidental discovery in 1939, but during the holidays it takes on a whole new life with a dazzling display of Christmas lights adorning the cave walls and bathing the limestone in shimmering luminescent colors.

8. World’s Tallest Glass Tree

World's Largest Glass Tree at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, WI

Watch as local artisans construct a giant glass Christmas tree over several weekends in December, culminating in the glass tree topping event. Plus, get curated tours of the historic Yerkes Observatory, shop the holiday market, and more!

What’s your favorite unique Wisconsin Christmas tradition? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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